Italian expats miss home, but they love being in the UAE and enjoy just about everything that it has to offer, from deserts and dunes to hospitality and food, as they tell Shikha Mishra.

Claudia C. Giarrusso
Coastal engineering specialist, coastal management section, Dubai Municipality

I am from Sicily and came to Dubai two years ago. I love the multi-cultural atmosphere, and the opportunities here. I also like the desert, and enjoy dune bashing and camping in the desert.

My two favourite spots are Hatta and Liwa. What I miss about Italy is its history, art and cultural events and, above all, walking around the city and stumbling across tiny squares where you can stop for an espresso.

In Dubai, my favourite spots are the Buddha Bar and 360 Degrees. What I don't like about Dubai is the traffic.

Roberto Canciani
President, Italian Business Group, Abu Dhabi, and regional representative, Ansaldo Energia

I am originally from Milan and moved to Abu Dhabi a few years ago. It is a quiet city and the weather is pleasant except for the summer months. The UAE is a very tolerant country, apart from being clean and pollution free. I don't miss Italy because I keep travelling back and forth very often. I keep coming into Dubai for work, and it is an incredible city. I earlier thought about moving to Dubai, but now I feel I am better off living in Abu Dhabi.

Antonio Ricciardi
Segment marketing manager, du

I am from Naples, and have been in Dubai for over a year now. I like the level of comfort Dubai offers, and the high level of service it provides its residents. The mingling of different nationalities is admirable, and everyone is striving to achieve better results.

What I don't like about Dubai is we spend too much time indoors; there is no street life. There is also no integration between different communities despite it being a multi-cultural society. I spend my weekends on the beach or play pool.

I enjoy the Al Hambra restaurant at Al Qasr and Eat and Drink restaurant on Al Wahda — it serves great shawarmas. I miss friends and family in Dubai and despite several attempts can't find the right mozzarella here.

Andrea Conte
Italian chef de cuisine, JW Marriott Dubai

I am from Turin and have been in Dubai for nine months. The mix of people and cultures is unique to the UAE.

The heat here does not bother me, as the air-conditioning is extremely effective. I go to the Jebel Ali Beach often, which is beautiful, but what I find strange is the fact that the seawater is warm as well. I miss my grandmother and her cooking, and the fact that I cannot ski here. I have been to Ski Dubai, but it is not the same.

Nonetheless, I enjoy the fact that I can go to the Mall of Emirates for shopping and then round it off with a spot of skiing. Traffic is a problem. Since I live in the Greens, I am constantly battling traffic to come into Deira.

Veronica Scocci
Editorial account manager, Image Library

I came to Dubai three years ago with my husband. Though I was born in Brussels, my father is from Florence and my mother is from Sicily. Dubai is really pleasant in winter.

We do a number of outdoor activities as we live close to the beach. We also trek and cycle in the mountains in Ras Al Khaimah. It is also inexpensive to travel to other countries in the Middle East as well as to India and Sri Lanka for weekend breaks.

What I don't like about Dubai is the lack of visible culture or history. Everything is new and impersonal. I miss the corner cafes and the open markets of Italy.

Anna Caupaud
President of the CICER (Circolo Italiano Culturale

e Ricreativo), Italian Community Association in Abu Dhabi
I am from Tuscany and am married to a Frenchman. My daughters were born and brought up in the UK, so in essence we are a European family.

I like the quality of life in Abu Dhabi; I wouldn't like to live in Dubai because of the traffic. Our memorable times in the UAE are those we spent camping in the desert, or touring the UAE and Oman.

I am the in-charge of the Italian club and my husband of the French one, so we have social engagements. I miss Italy, its people and coffee shops. However, Abu Dhabi is waking up, and we have concerts and exhibitions here as well.